Home » Sustainability | Free Full-Text | The Global Demand for Migrant Care Workers: Drivers and Implications on Migrants’ Wellbeing

Sustainability | Free Full-Text | The Global Demand for Migrant Care Workers: Drivers and Implications on Migrants’ Wellbeing

by gwcmag

Background: Demographic changes across the globe create increasing demands for care labour mobility. The contribution of migrant workers to the long-term care (LTC) systems is not confined to the western world or countries that have already completed their ageing transitions; they also play an essential role in maintaining the care systems in countries with emerging ageing populations. Despite the increased demand for LTC services, such jobs remain unattractive with difficult working conditions and insecure prospects in most European countries and are only emerging in the Middle East. This paper explores factors affecting the demand for care mobility, reflecting on the experience of some OECD countries with already aged populations and countries in the Middle East, which are currently transitioning into aged populations. Methods: Conducting a statistical review of key ageing and LTC indicators, combined with a narrative review of relevant literature, the analysis considers the increased demand on migrant care labour. Drawing on a case study of the UK, where the immigration system is being reformed post-Brexit, we utilise In-depth interviews with 27 migrants working in LTC in the UK (2018–2020) to explore impacts on care workers’ wellbeing. Results: The findings show that both sets of countries draw on migrant workers as an essential source for LTC workforce supply to maintain and enhance the wellbeing of those receiving care in host societies. Meanwhile, care mobility creates care gaps in home countries, adversely affecting migrant workers’ wellbeing. Interview analysis with migrant care workers in the UK showed that such a process adversely affects migrants’ material and emotional wellbeing. Conclusion: The ability of migrants to move and work in different countries is shaped by several intersecting systems, including the host country’s immigration and welfare regimes. Migrants working in LTC are predominantly women who are usually motivated to work in care due to financial and social needs and usually maintain caring responsibilities across borders. Migrants employ their agency to navigate complex entry systems, settlement, or cross-border mobility to provide LTC in both formal and informal contexts. The implications on migrants’ wellbeing are considerable and should be addressed within a context of increased global mobility linked to ageing populations.

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